Ester Marsh: What body type are you?

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 4, 2023

So many people are looking for a certain shape and don’t realize that their genetics play a huge role in this. Beauty and health come in many sizes and shapes, always remember that! The following are three body types that are generally decided by someone’s genetic makeup. Over the years, I really use this to come up with programming for certain body types. Of course not everyone fits in these exact perimeters, and many can have a combination of body types.

• Ectomorph — light build with small joints and lean muscle. Usually ectomorphs have long limbs with stringy muscles. Their shoulders tend to be thin with little width.

• Mesomorph — has a large bone structure with large muscles and a naturally athletic body. It is quite easy to gain muscles and they are naturally strong.

• Endomorph — A generally soft build, and usually of shorter build with thick arms and legs. Endomorphs gain fat very easily. Endomorphs are naturally strong in leg exercises.

When you have a certain body type, you will get more out of your workouts if you work with your genetic makeup. Typically an endomorph (who gains weight easily) thinks he or she needs to be doing cardio, cardio and more cardio, which has proven is not the best workout for their progress.

Below are general exercise regimens for the three body types. If you are not sure what body type you are ask a certified personal trainer. We might be able to steer you in the right direction. The real key is your progress in your workouts, if they have not been working for you it might be time to change it to something your body will respond to.

• For the ectomorph (hard gainer) you need lots of calories because your metabolism is super fast. That does not mean that you eat whatever you want, even “skinny” you can still clog up those arteries with a high-fat, unhealthy diet. Typically, an ectomorph is looking to gain weight/muscle. The workout for that can be a body building workout. Heavy weight, low reps full recovery in between sets. Of course that is after you have a good base of general weight lifting. An example can be chest and triceps for one day, 4-6 exercises for big muscle group and 2-4 exercises for smaller muscle groups, 4-5 sets of 4-8 reps. Back and biceps another day, legs and shoulders the next day. Core can be worked in every day or whenever it fits in your routine. Cardio is a must for a healthy heart just make sure you don’t go overboard. Seventy-five percent of your workout can be weights and 25 percent cardio. Preferable 5-6 days a week.

• For the mesomorph (muscular and athletic), you have a natural muscle build, but if you don’t pay attention to calories, you can gain fat too. This body type is very well suited for body building competition. Find out what your goal is so you can select your workout. For muscle building, same as above — 70 percent weights and 30 percent cardio (the percentages is purely my opinion after many years training different body types, this is what I have found successful). For muscle definition, interval training works very well. Full body workout with cardio worked into the routine. Very little rest and keep your calories in check and make sure they are nurturing calories not empty ones! Preferable 5-6 days a week.

  For the endomorph (soft and round body), you can gain muscles and fat easily. Calories are not kind to you; you have to be very aware what you put into your mouth and need lesser calories than the mesomorph and especially the ectomorph. Metabolism is typically slow. Your workout needs to consist of high intensity cardio work and about two days (at least one full day of rest in between those days) of full body strength workout. Your strength workout will be with low weights and high reps. For example, two chest exercises, two back, four leg, two shoulder, one bicep and one tricep exercises. Core can be worked in any or every day. Two sets of 15 to 25 reps. Eighty percent intense cardio and 20 percent weights. No rest and preferable 6 days a week.

As always, when in doubt, ask a certified personal trainer at the YMCA or any other gym and fitness facility.

Ester H. Marsh is health and fitness director of the J.F. Hurley Family YMCA and a mesomorph.